Two years in the making, the growth on this album is very tangible. In some ways you might say their sound has changed, but it has been sharpened and refined as all the elements you want from them are there. It reminds me a great deal of Death of Lovers, and since Kyle Kimball is in both bands that makes sense. The groove is tighter, and the chorus of the opening track "Fantasy 21" has more heft in. With the exception of the second song, the more driving "Kill Like I Do, there is less of the Sisters of Mercy vibe that first brought them into prominence. The 80s thing is there but in more of a Depeche Mode new wave fashion on songs like the title track. The vocals are often breathy and smooth on the verses, and he belts it more on the chorus.
The title track has a Cure like guitar that comes in over the more synth wave sounds. It's Dancey cold wave that gets warmed up with this organic touch. The softer whispered vocals, are nothing like Andrew Eldritch , and when he goes into a croon there is more feeling to it this time around. The 80s drum machine stylings are dialed in pretty hard. "Turn to Cold" works on most levels there is just nothing in it that moves me more than the first three songs and works off a retro throb. The sounds shift and create a different dynamic on "Corium" that works better. The vocals are a little higher than where he normally sings giving it a more Trent Reznor feel. The drums are stronger on "Sea Sick" This and the industrial touches carry the song as the vocals sit back in the mix.
"Moonlit Tsar" is another song powered by a solid groove though the vocals here contribute more than the previous. The synth riff is also catchier. More of a piano sound is used on the last song. The vocal also has more of a Nine Inch Nails feel, making this almost an homage to the ballads of "Pretty Hate Machine". Hey no one else is doing it so I am on board. I like how the song progresses dynamically when the other synth sound comes in. I will give this album a 9,5, it is a wonderful step forward in songs writing that shows maturation and has earned frequent listens thus far.